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Old 11-18-2012, 01:44 PM   #1
normanallen OP
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: Christchurch England
Oddometer: 8
Info required please

Hi we are flying into San Francisco next June and would like a bit of local Californian and Arizona knowledge as we are doing a far bit of driving I did say driving as there is three of use (wife and daughter) though I will see about hiring a bike for a couple of days in LA. Would it be advisable to book motels / hotels in advance or would it be easy enough to get cheapish accommodation as we drive about. I have booked SF as we need an address at the beginning of the holiday then up the coast to Fort Bragg next Yosemite not sure were then head towards Flagstaff, Tuscon, LA then back up to SF along the coast.As our plans are not set in stone being in a given place at any particular time would be difficult so would prefer to just turn up and sleep also any interesting places to visit in the areas mentioned would be appreciated I like engineering motor bikes cars trains planes etc etc.


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Old 11-18-2012, 02:28 PM   #2
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: NorCal
Oddometer: 350
Maybe I can help with northern CA. As soon as you cross the GG bridge take the view lot exit and take a look. Lots of tourists stop there. And, heading back north, now 101 and 1, take the very next exit towards Sausalito but turn left under the freeway and follow the road up to the Marin headlands for an even greater view of the bay, SF's skyline and the bridge. Heading back to 101, follow the same road back and circle around for 101 north and ride thru the tunnel into Marin Co. Just a few miles farther take the hiway 1 cutoff thru Mill valley and over Mt Tamalpais and down to the ocean at Stinson beach. VERY curvy slow going but just spectacular scenery.
Turn north at the bottom and enjoy some of the best scenery in the state. From Bodega Bay past Bragg the road goes inland (and) along the coast but ALL of it is spectacular. A few miles past Westport/Rockport, stop where the ocean view stops and look south for the view and then ready yourself for the west coast 'dragon'. Over 20 miles of nothing but, corners and elevation changes on a tight tree lined two lane all the way to Legget where hiway 1 ends (GREAT ROAD) and then its 101 all the way north. A few miles past Garberville take the 1st Ave of the Giants exit and ride hiway 254 for about 25-30 miles right down the middle of the Avenue. Lots of places to stop and walk out among them. You won't regret it! You can spend hours walking around those giants. My son walked on a downed old growth redwood from the stump to the tip and he walked over 300 steps before he got to the end!
You can continue on the Avenue until it spills you back onto 101 or take any number of connectors back to 101 if you're in a hurry. 101, pretty much all the way from there is a four lane 'freeway' thru the redwoods with only a couple short spurts onto two lane sections. There are good eats and lodging choices in Fortuna on the west side of 101. Another tourist town nearby is Ferndale. Huge bell trees in a very old style quaint little burg and the way to the Lost Coast hiway (all 9 miles of it) and a hard road to get there. Unless you have lots of time I'd head back to 101 north. Eureka is the next 'big' town and passing thru at the north end take the Samoa road west and follow the signs to the Samoa Cookhouse. You gotta eat there! All you can eat, logger style and you eat what they're serving, no menu...and never any regrets! You can store your helmets and gear just inside their entry doors where loggers used to hang their spikes and other gear. Lots of old pics inside of old growth logging efforts way back when. They make their own bread too! Their French toast for breakfast is the best!
Heading north you'll have some nice wide open straightaways and ride in and out of ocean views past Trinidad. All great scenery if you like the color green! Near the wide spot called Klamath follow the signs to the elk preserve where I've seen 15-20 elk just a few feet from the road in their protected pasture. Great photo ops if they're out and about. If you want to continue north into OR, take 199 towards Grants Pass.
If you want to head towards Yosemite after the Avenue, hiway 36 east is a great road and takes you back, to I-5 for a quick trip south towards Yosemite. After 5 crosses 50 continue onto 99 then find your way east onto 49 all the way to 108/120 and into Yosemite. 120 is bound to be closed over the Tioga towards Nevada but 395 south is also a good drive. If 120 or others are closed, 108 or 4 (east of Big Trees SP), 88 is almost always open and except for 50 farther north, is the only way over the Sierras onto 395 and into NV if you're heading southeast into AZ.
Just remembered, off 49 take a quick drive on 4 east to Arnold to the Calaveras Big Trees SP. The north grove is open year round and takes about an hour to walk through. This is what you'll see. Spectacular old growth redwoods.

Sport screwed with this post 11-18-2012 at 03:54 PM
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:17 PM   #3
Sam...I am.
Joined: May 2010
Location: seal beach, ca.
Oddometer: 2,162
Tons of info coming your watch & see.

First, have you/wife/or kid ever been to the U.S., specifically the "west"? Is this a "Disney" trip? ie: amusement park type trip or a national park type of vacation?

The first n.p. you get to, you will want to buy a national parks pass(gets you in all the parks for $75).

How much time do you have?

We'll get you pointed in the right direction, more specifics please.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:29 PM   #4
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Joined: Dec 2010
Location: SF Bay Area
Oddometer: 119
Some random thoughts about a few things you shouldn't miss...

In-N-Out Burgers are about the best fast food you can get, and can stretch your $$$ further (although your nutritional intake can suffer).

My favorite place to say around Yosemite (when not camping):

You'll be able to book hotels as you go, as long as you're not going for the 5-star variety.

Do not miss Napa/Sonoma, the scenery, food and wine are among the best in the world.

More to come as I think on it...
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:38 AM   #5
normanallen OP
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: Christchurch England
Oddometer: 8
Cheer for all the info guys I am really looking forward going to the States and all the info is very welcome
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:22 AM   #6
normanallen OP
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: Christchurch England
Oddometer: 8
We are staying 3 weeks and is a national park type vacation not to
Interested in Disney we have an SUV for the period after and return
To SF. My intention is to get accommodation whilst on the road as I do
when travelling in Europe and would prefer camping , I suppose I could buy
All I need and donate it to some one when I leave . I expect we will do the normal
Tourist things but would prefer to see America without hordes of people like me
That's how it stands at the moment flights first hotel and SUV just need to fill the
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:40 AM   #7
Ken Fritz
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Oct 2002
Location: Orangevale, CA
Oddometer: 1,025

Yosemite will be a problem without a reservation, but places outside the park will be found. If you wish to camp inside the park, I suggest reservations ahead of time. Here's the link:
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:40 PM   #8
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Lewiston,ID
Oddometer: 1,999
The only time you will need to have reservations is around the tourist areas. It shouldn't be a problem any place else. I hate being tied to a schedule when I am on vacation. That makes if more like work. It drives my wife crazy because she is always worried we won't find a place to stay. I travel 3-4 weeks every year and I have never had a problem finding a place to stay. I like staying flexible. Sometimes you will run into people that will tell you about some really interesting place they saw. I can alway change my plans to see those kind of places.

Here is a link to find free camping.

You can generally camp anywhere on public land and that is usually free also.

Go on line to the states you want to travel and get their tourist guides. They are free and give good information.
Information you get from the states will also include camping.

It will be hot in some of those areas in June so be prepared.

You will have a great time.
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